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Saturday, October 25, 2014         

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Punahou ekes past Kamehameha-Maui

By Kyle Sakamoto
Special to The Star-Advertiser

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The Punahou girls soccer team will play on, but it wasn't without a major battle from Kamehameha-Maui yesterday.

Kaylin Okuma scored off a corner kick from Michaela Tsuha in overtime as the No. 1-seeded Buffanblu beat the Warriors 1-0 in the quarterfinals of the JN Automotive Division I State Championships at the Waipio Peninsula Soccer Stadium.

The official time of the goal was 84:21.

Punahou, the Interscholastic League of Honolulu champion, will play Kahuku in the semifinals tonight at 7. Kamehameha-Maui, the Maui Interscholastic League runner-up, will play No. 4 seed Hilo today at 3 p.m.

"We just wanted to get numbers up, get the ball in and hope we had someone in the right position," Punahou coach Matt Martinson said.

Kamehameha-Maui coach Sean Joaquin had to fight back tears as he spoke after the game.

"Playing Punahou is a lot mental because it is Punahou and they have many state titles," he said of the Buffanblu, who have won 10 state championships, including the last two. "To come out and play them into overtime, that's all a coach could ask."

Tsuha's corner kick from the left side connected with Okuma, who was left unmarked just in front of the goal line.

"During the play, we pretty much all worked together," said Okuma, a junior. "We practice those during practice. We just go all out and keep bringing it. And that's what we did till the end."

Tsuha normally wouldn't have taken the corner kick.

"I usually take it on the right side, occasionally on the left," said Tsuha, a junior. "No one was in to take the left side so I decided to take it."

The Buffanblu dominated play in the second half, until late.

In the 76th minute, Kamehameha-Maui's Elizabeth Higashino sent in a free kick to Noelle Kaulupali in the box. Her shot from just in front of the goal was blocked by the Punahou goalie and Kylie Yamada sent the rebound just wide left.

In the 78th, a Punahou giveaway gave the Warriors' Lily Higashino a breakaway, but her shot bounced wide left.

Punahou had a couple of shots go off the post in the first half.

In the 14th, Kendra Trifonovitch sent a through ball to Tsuha on the right side and her shot from 12 yards hit the crossbar.

Three minutes later, Punahou's Lahaina Zoller had some space on the left side of the box and her shot skimmed the right post.

"As you can see we had to work for it. Kamehameha played really good defense. We had a lot of opportunities we never finished on," Martinson said. "It was just a matter of us persevering."

Added Kamehameha-Maui's Joaquin: "We had opportunities, they had opportunities. Tonight our goalie (Chastyne Cabanas) showed up and made some nice saves and our sweeper Liz Higashino in the back, she led by example the whole year."





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